This weekend we welcome Fr. Jerry Bensman at the 4:30pm Mass at St. Joseph and Fr. Eric Roush at the 8:00am Mass at St. John and the 10:00am Mass at St. Joseph. Next weekend (April 24/25) Fr. Eric Wood (who joined us for Easter) will have the Masses at St. Lawrence and Immaculate Conception. It is a blessing to have these fine priests assist us so that Fr. Jedidiah and I can sneak away. We are allotted three weekends off each year and it isn’t always easy to find substitutes. Please help me thank them for their generous service to Christ and His Church.
Next weekend (April 24/25) I’ll be in Connecticut for my younger brother’s wedding. It is an honor and blessing to get to offer the wedding Mass for him and his fiancé. If you think of it, please say a prayer for Trevor and Heather as they begin a new chapter of their lives as a married couple.
We are always beginning new chapters in our lives. Life regularly changes and part of life and maturity is learning how to adapt and regularly find a new normal. Marriage is probably the biggest change that most people go through, but there are constant other changes in life: new jobs, graduation, moving, and more.
During the Easter season we can try to look at all changes through the lens of Jesus’ death and resurrection. It is the greatest change that has ever happened in human history: transformation from death to life. In every change, there is an opportunity to let things die so that new life can be born. It involves clinging to the cross, so that new life could blossom forth. Thinking of my brother, someone once said that a wedding is also a funeral for the single life. The single life dies so that marriage can burst forth.
This happens in our parishes regularly. Things die so that new life can bloom: programs end, so that new ones can bloom. Encountering change in a parish means trusting in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and acknowledging the pain of death. Suffering and loss are real, but so are hope and renewal.
There are a couple of physical changes that have happened over the past couple months: new bathrooms at St. John, the high altar at St. Joseph, and some new statues at Immaculate Conception. Hopefully these actions are part of a renewal and new life.
For those who weren’t at Mass last weekend at Immaculate Conception, there are new statues of Mary and Joseph in the sanctuary. These statues were given to me by the pastor of a parish in Cincinnati. They were in bad shape, very bad shape. Someone in Columbus repainted them and I am stunned by his artistry. The statues turned out beautifully. Last weekend they were placed next to the current statues and we solicited some feedback.
There were some hesitations expressed by parishioners. Some thought the new St. Joseph statue didn’t look as masculine as the old one. Also the old statue of Mary is the image of the Immaculate Conception which fits the Church. Finally there were historical concerns. These were the statues from the old church, let’s hang on to the history.
Despite some hesitations, the responses I received were very positive, especially the Mary statue. People like the colors in the new statues and the fact that Mary is holding the Christ child. Also a new St. Joseph statue solves the missing lilies/staff in the old St. Joseph statue.
In speaking with pastoral council, we will keep the new statues in the sanctuary for the time being. The old statues will be repurposed and kept in public view for parishioners. There is always the possibility that they could be moved back. Also we will look into repainting the Sacred Heart statue to beautify it. Also we are looking at options to enhance the crucifix over the tabernacle.
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Sean Wilson